Rice with Peas and Carrots, Riso con Piselli e Carote, a simple, tasty, and nutritious recipe that we love to make for lunch on rotation, almost every week. When fresh sweet peas make their appearance at the market, I rejoice because they are one of my absolute favorite vegetables.
Song of the day: Put a Little Love In Your Heart - David Ruffin
Unlike risotto, here you cook the vegetables and the rice separately, then you let them mingle in a wonderful embrace. Simple, delicious flavors, in a great seasonal recipe that will win your heart.
If you're anything like me, you believe that fresh peas are one of the joys of Spring. I not only like to eat them, but I also like to shell them. I open the pod and with my thumb make the peas fall into a bowl, like beads from a broken necklace. I don't know if it's the sound or the manual activity that I find so relaxing and not in the least boring. Then, I like to eat them fresh or freeze right away in sealed bags or Tupperware containers.
By all means, when fresh peas are not in season, as a personal preference I choose frozen peas, followed by peas in a glass jar, and hardly ever, peas in a can.
Let the peas shine
In all my recipes, I let the fresh peas be the star of the show. When we are not making pea barley risotto, rice and peas is our next favorite option. Here, together with the peas, we have leeks and carrots, a delightful combination.
- Firstly, in a small saucepan or saute pan, add the oil, the chopped vegetables, and a little water. Then, add salt and pepper to taste and cook on low/medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until slightly tender but still with some bite to them.
- Next, add the peas to the vegetables, stir, and top with water just to cover them.
- Put the lid on and stirring/checking from time to time, cook until peas are tender.
When I'm in Italy, in our pantry there is always Carnaroli rice, which, in our opinion, makes the best risotto. The other type of rice we have is Arborio. For this dish, either one of them would work.
My family always measures rice in a glass. Our full glass of rice is a serving for 4 people and it's about 220g, a heaping 1 cup.
The rice meets the veggies
- At this point, add water to another pot and a pinch of coarse salt. Bring it to a boil, then add the rice. Cook the rice, stirring once in a while, al dente or to your liking. On the whole, the rice has to be neither too dry nor too watery but you will need a little of the rice water to create the creaminess.
- Next, add the peas/carrots to the pot, stir, add the Parmigiano (if using).
- Lastly, stir again, then let sit for a couple of minutes to blend and release the starchy creaminess.
It looks delicious!
Finally, the peas and carrots are nicely blended in the rice. Look at that perfect texture. We are getting hungry, over here, cannot wait to plate it and eat it. We added Parmigiano, but not butter as we would do in a risotto. Just omit if you want to keep it vegan.
All in all, there's everything I like in that bowl. Starchy al dente rice, soft, sweet, and tasty vegetables. This Rice with Peas and Carrots is perfectly creamy and oh so satisfying. Fork after fork it brings a smile to my face and makes my heart content.
Ultimately, it is easy and fairly quick to make, full of nutrients and flavor. I'm sure, every time fresh peas are in season, you will make it often just like us.
Song of the day: Put a Little Love In Your Heart - David RuffinPrint